2016 American Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 02
Monday May 16, 2016 | South Pasadena, CA
I hugged Ben for me. For you. For everyone. We shared smiles. I asked him how he did that, I reminded him that breaks don't stay out, like, they just don't. It's not how racing works, so like, umm, dude, wow, how!?
148km / 92mi
9008 or 4.4mi
Comfort Suites Stevenson Ranch, California
- Shoot the race more than three times (apparently in photo-jock terms this means shooting the race more than once, because shooting the start and the finish doesn’t count because it is SO expected.) ✓
- Meet our friend, hired gun, and audio factotum Rebecca Gates at our Hotel. ✓
- Avoid eating at rice and/or beans. ✓
- Go to sleep before 4am. ✓
- BEN KING!!!!!!, Cannondale Pro Cycling, 3:52:09
- Evan Huffman, Rally Cycling, s/t
- Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha, +0:00:08
Stage 2 will begin in new host city South Pasadena, known for its historic homes, charming tree-lined streets and proximity to Rose Bowl Stadium.
Despite being a sprinter’s finish, the profile on the way to Santa Clarita is filled with long gradual climbs that could take a toll on the sprinters’ legs. Riders will face several Lexus King of the Mountain points in the Angeles National Forest including Highway 2, Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga Canyon. Throughout the route, riders will see numerous historic California bridges and tunnels.
Santa Clarita, host to the most stages in race history (12), will welcome the riders for a wide, flat finish in downtown Newhall.
The race started in Pasadena, home of the Tournament of Roses; that is the flower parade, not the early 14th century battle for the Kingdom of Albion. The race started on some train tracks, which was cool, like a dangerous cool. These are the best riders in the world, why not make it a challenge from the get go? From there they rode through Pasadena and past some really nice houses, where a lot of bewildered and lonely rich people had wandered out to their front yard to sit by themselves, looking for some sort of human connection. From there, the peloton climbed into the Angeles Mountains. They did a bunch of climbing. Some of it shrouded in fog, other parts naked to the sun. The naked party was beautiful, the shrouded part ominous. Eventually they made their way to Santa Clarita, home to Magic Mountain and one of California’s smallest Whole Foods. FYI there’s a pretty amazing army surplus store only a few blocks from the finish of the race. So if you’re looking for some quality Swiss or German army gear go there, you won’t be disappointed.
BEN KING! BEN KING! BEN KING! #BLESSED #SOBLESSED
The Hot Bar selection at the Santa Clarita Whole Foods is a disgrace.
Hey Los Angeles, you’re the second largest city in the US. I don’t care if it’s a Monday. Where was everyone?
The race caravan, like life, is guided by rules that are mutable, undependable, and breakable.
In our car, if there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is our vehement dislike of the band Jane’s Addiction.
I’m going to give it to you straight: the crew, this crew, our crew, we didn’t really do right by our bodies today. Normally getting up at 10:00am would be LUX; but it’s not when you went to bed at 4:00am, so our bodies, our emotional well-being, our self-esteem was not fully charged when we got up. Still, we made it to the Starbucks down the street. We had our Super Green Juices, our bananas, our coffees, Daniel even had two coffees. We even watched these two botox cyborgs engage in some sort of simulacrum of human interaction, so you’d think we’d be fully stimulated. But sleep, or lack thereof, is a powerful adversary. Not that we haven’t seen this before, we know what to do, you pretend like you’re not bothered, you brush that dirt off your shoulders and carry one. Well brush we did till about 3:30pm when we pulled into Santa Clarita for the finish. For the finish of the race we were basically the body suits aliens hire to walk around in while they’re visiting earth. Thankfully Ben King’s win stimulated the release of happiness endorphins which allowed us to take photos, get back to our car, and make it to the Whole Foods. Ben, if you’re reading this, I know you don’t think that win was for us, but it was, you won because you knew that Manual for Speed needed your help, and for that we will be forever grateful. Buoyed by Ben King’s kinetic largess we made our way to the Santa Clarita Whole Foods, where despite having a hot food section that would have been unacceptable by ‘80s prison cafeteria standards, we managed to compile a selection of edibles that would carry us through the remainder of the night.
Nothing for today, which means we apologize for not realizing what we need to retract/correct/apologize for.
I MFS Speed Center Stage 02 Trailer
II Race Report
Last night, after eating an entire half chicken, an avocado salad, half a white onion, a plate of white rice, a bowl of beans and two orders of plátanos from Versailles, a decaf venti americano from the Starbucks on Robinson and Pico, and after six hours of blogging in my internet suit, a shower, some lite flossing, a game of iPhone chess (level 950), and a melatonin from my suitcase, I went to sleep for four hours before waking up in a hotel room in Pasadena next to Kyle, who was there when I went to sleep, and Rebecca, who was not, who was new, and so then we were three, which three of us went immediately to Starbucks #1 on Fair Oaks. Feeling rough. Planning ahead. I order one coffee plus a replacement should the first break. And a banana. I’m wearing pants because the weather in Southern California in the morning is misleading. The only interesting things about the start are the very active train tracks running through the center of it and a conversation with Nathan Hass about Bernie Sanders.We drive through the Rose Bowl, everyone is a lady, and every lady has a dog.”- MFS
We drive up the mountain on the 2 into denser fog. At the first KOM we stop. Sam, Ian, an interesting interaction with a CHP brü, Yanko!!!!!!, a conversation about skateboarding, catching up with the Raging Stag, the race comes past, break. The course does a loop, they go left we go right. We drive to the second KOM then leave because it’s boring. We head back the way we came to a turn-out, then another, then another, then another, then back to the second one, then back to the first one, then turn around and onto the next one, the fifth one, then back to the third one, the one with a dude sleeping in it. It’s sunny now. Wait for the race. It comes. I photograph it. In the process I can’t be sure but it looks like Taylor Phinney is looking down on me. Surf the back of the race to the completion of the loop. The race goes right, through Angeles Crest, we go left, back down the front of the mountains into the back of Pasadena. Surf CHP on the 210 the whole way to Santa Clarita. Rolling escort, weird. Hazards on. Traffic. Park. This morning’s banana is thin, real thin. Buy a coffee, discover my flash is broken, feel persecuted, send texts, make calls, deal with this personal low point, waning PMA related to flash, find Sam, swap flashes for his superior unit (DUDE, THANKS), Ben rounds the corner at my feet in front of the whole entire race, because he won it.
It’s hard to explain but I’ll try. Everyone in every direction is beyond excited for Ben. Everyone in the race, everyone watching the race, everyone working the race is ecstatic. There is much hugging and kissing and, I suspect, crying. The mood is jubilant exactly like when the Galaxy celebrates on Endor: Luke is reunited with this companions Han, Lando, the droids, Chewbacca, the surviving Rebel fleet, the Ewoks, and his siser Leia. In fact, I was able to photograph the spirits of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and a redeemed Anakin Skywalker as they gathered around Ben and escorted him from the Podium Zone to the Press Conference. Listen, all joking aside, the world loves Ben because Ben.
I hugged Ben for me. For you. For everyone. We shared smiles. I asked him how he did that, I reminded him that breaks don’t stay out, like, they just don’t. It’s not how racing works, so like, umm, dude, wow, how!?I dont know, I mean that's not supposed to happen but it did.”- Ben King
III TODAY'S SURPRISING EVENTS
BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING BEN KING
IV Today's Highs & Lows
- Hey, it may not seem like a lot, I mean in the grand scheme of things what’s seven minutes?, it’s not even a blink of a galactic eye. But if you’re me and my job is to take photos of professional bike racing and professional bike racing is happening right next to me, spending seven whole minutes trying to take a selfie where my head appears to be birthing out of a life-size spread-legged Peter Sagan might not appear to be a good use of my time. But appearances are bullshit. I loved using that time.
- Going to Whole Foods for dinner.
- The whole team peeing off a scenic lookout in the Angeles Mountains. And NOT peeing on to a rattlesnake.
- Getting in a car duel with the course marshals during the descent from KOM 2
- The Whole Foods hot bar.
Stage 02 Most Animal Competition A Manual for Speed Pilot Program for a New Classification
Manual for Speed has been commissioned to introduce a new race classification category called “Most Animal.” Points for the classification will be awarded on the basis of style, swagger, and grit. We’ve assembled an elite group of expert analysts who will be assessing and assigning points for performance. The most animal jersey for ATOK will be awarded at the end of the race.
BEN KING: 9 pts
In the break, hamming it up for the camera, smiling and throwing peace signs before winning the stage, all after an insane injury early in the season while training.
CANNONDALE TEAM CAR: 3 pts
Making riders give back their empties. Not necessarily animal, but interesting. Likely because their bottles are all in Europe.
VASIL KIRIYENKA: 5 pts
Crashed on the descent, looked straight up loopy and unbalanced (like he was about to start walking around in circles), sat up on the hood of a car, took his sweet ol’ time, got back on the bike and was back to the peloton in like two minutes.
Standings After Stage 02
- Ben King: 9 points
- Wouter Wippert: 7 points
- Vasil Kiriyenka: 5 points
- Oscar Clark: 4 points
- Cannondale Team Car: 3 points